Harrison HS Hires East Central Grad, Former Pro Rehage To Coach Football
By Mike Perleberg
Derek Rehage has been selected as the next head coach of the Harrison High School football program. Photo provided.
(Harrison, Oh.) – When Kent McCullough announced he was leaving the Harrison Wildcats football program, the school administration did not have to look any farther than his staff to find their next head football coach.
Current defensive coordinate Derek Rehage will take up the role of varsity head coach at Harrison High School starting in the 2017-2018 season. He was unanimously selected by the Southwest Local School District Board of Education.
“I remember when I was a high school football player and the positive influence that the coaches, my teammates and the game had on me,” Rehage said. “I want to be part of that experience for the young men here at Harrison – to give them the same opportunities that were given to me and make a positive impact on their lives.”
Eighteen people had applied for the coaching opportunity, including coaches who have won state championships. But, WHHHS athletic director Mark Meibers predicts that the transition with Rehage will be unbelievably smooth.
“His relationship with the student-athletes and community is second to none,” Meibers said. “His knowledge of football is great and his ability to lead on and off the field is what truly separates him from others. Derek is special. He has a passion for football and his players.”
Rehage lives in Harrison now, but played his high school ball for the Wildcats’ biggest rival, East Central High School. He then went on to play collegiately at Miami University. He played eight games with the NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire before breaking his hand and missing the season. In 2007, he attended the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason camp as a rookie free agent, but was released.
Neither playing nor coaching experience are an issue with this hire. Rehage has been defensive coordinator and previously a linebackers coach under McCullough for four seasons. He was a varsity assistant and head wrestling coach for six season with the Trojans before moving to Harrison four years ago. Prior to EC, he was a varsity assistant coach and freshman wrestling coach at Colerain High School.
According to a school district news release, Rehage “will retain many of the features that McCullough used to run the football program but that he will add new elements that fit the way he likes to do things. He believes the keys to success include emphasizing fundamentals, playing with great effort and as a team, and displaying sportsmanship to officials and opposing players.”
Rehage will continue to be employed as an intervention specialist for Southwest Local School District.
McCullough announced last month he has accepted the job as head coach at Turpin High School in Cincinnati. He had a 39-26 record and four berths in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II playoffs as the Wildcats’ head coach.